I've had some experience of electrical work at home, but I haven't really done much with lighting. In my new house the previous owner for some reason, decided to make one switch in a bedroom do two things. The most common one being joining the recessed led ceiling lights to a ceiling fan(no light). This may suit some but it means that I can't use the ceiling fan without the lights being on and it leads to weirdness such as if you operate the ceiling fan speed control, the lights dim and vice versa if you dim the lights with the dimmer, the fan slows down. As you can imagine, I'm not happy with this arrangement and would like to rectify. Could someone please give me some ideas on how to separate the fan from the lights and install a separate fan switch? Many thanks Paul

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    Can you turn off the breaker, open up the switch and take pictures showing all the wires going to the switch? Do not disconnect any wires, but pull the switch out so we can see what is there. That will (hopefully) determine the overall wiring scheme, which is critical to figuring out how to fix it. Mar 12 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


There is really only one right way to fix this: Run a new cable. But even that may not be as simple as it seems.

The existing wiring could be (essentially):

  • Panel to switch to lights to fan


  • Panel to first light to switch, plus first light to other lights to fan

If it is the first then you have hot, switched hot and neutral at the switch and you can run a new cable from the switch box (adding a second switch for the fan) to the fan. If you do that, I would recommend a /3 cable (black/red/white) instead of a /2 cable (black/white) because that will allow future expansion to a combination fan/light with separate switches, should you want that in the future.

If it is the second that it gets more complicated because you need to run a new cable bringing hot/neutral to the new switch and switched hot back up, plus a separate cable from that ceiling box over to the fan.

Pictures of the existing switch box should determine the next step.

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